My Putter

I got a new putter for Christmas (whaddup, 36 for 36!). When I bust it out this season it’ll be the first time I’ve had a new putter since the late-80s.

Not the late-00s. Not even the late-90s. The late-80s. As in the 1980s. When I was still in the single digits.

Some context. I’ve been golfing since I was seven, and when I started playing I was using a spare set of women’s clubs which, if memory serves, had previously belonged to my grandma. But on August 16, 1988*, my dad and my grandpa (mom’s dad) took me to a place called Madgicals Golf Kingdom to buy me my own set.

(* – You might recognize that date: it’s my birthday! But it might’ve been August 16, 1989; I don’t think it was later than that, so we’ll settle once again on “the late-80s.”)

Upon entering the store I went straight for the putters. About five minutes later I heard arguing–and so I turned around, just in time to see the owner storming out of his own store.

I soon found out what’d happened: the owner, a guy by the name of Brian Madge, had (wrongly) accused my grandpa of coming into the store, busting up a set of demo clubs, and then fleeing. My grandpa wasn’t about to take that, so he fought back. Arguing turned into shouting, and then Madge walked out of his own store. He then refused to come back in while my grandpa was there. So my grandpa walked out as well, and sat down on the curb outside.

While this was happening I found a Northwestern Tom Weiskopf signature putter. I couldn’t put it down: it felt like it’d been made just for me. Meanwhile, Madge (who’d since come back in) came over and explained to me that I was too young for my own set of clubs–that there was no point in me getting one because I’d outgrow it within a couple years. I didn’t care: I wanted the putter. My dad saw the putter as a reasonable consolation present, and I walked out of the store with the putter and feeling like I was floating. We got my grandpa from the curb on our way.

I used that Tom Weiskopf signature putter for almost thirty years. It’s been obsolete for at least half of them. I never cared: it still felt good, and after a while it became a nostalgia thing as well. A postscript: a few years after the incident between him and my grandpa I played a round of golf with Brian Madge. He turned out to be a pretty affable dude. I told him about the putter; I left out the bit about the argument with my grandpa and the two of them taking turns storming out of Madge’s store on my eighth (or was it ninth?) birthday. It’s one of my favourite childhood memories. And it’s one I’ve relived every single time I’ve golfed for most of the past three decades.


Masters Update

Is there anything more enjoyable than watching Tiger Woods just take over a golf tournament? Especially when it’s the Masters? I’m going to venture a tentative “no” on that one. And to that point, is there a better day than Sunday at Augusta? Spring has officially sprung here in Toronto: the sun is out, the temperatures are climbing, the city is slowing coming to life…and I’m indoors, glued to a t.v. screen and not intending on moving for at least another two hours. The only thing that diminishes the experience is CBS’ broadcast team, who must surely be locked in mortal combat with Joe Buck and his FOX football crew for the title of all-time most incompetent sports reporters. There is nothing in life more vomit-inducing than listening to Jim Nance et al laud the natural beauty of Augusta National, canonize every single player on the PGA Tour and hear them describe each and every two foot putt in quasi-apocalyptic terms. Yet today, I’d be more than happy to overlook it.